Contributed by Nancy Shaw, SER Board Member, Representative-At-Large
Continuing education supports the educational needs of practitioners who seek recertification, plan to become certified, or who want to improve their knowledge and skills in the field of ecological restoration. Continuing education activities facilitate the exchange of information and promote the advancement of proven techniques used in ecological restoration. SER Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioners (CERPs) and Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioners-in-Training (CERPITs) seeking recertification must earn a minimum of 50 continuing education credits (CECs) within the five-year period since they were last certified. A minimum of five CECs must be earned each year.
The SER Certification Program recognizes seven categories of continuing education activities. These include a broad range of training, professional and volunteer activities with content relevant to ecological restoration (Table 1). Sponsors of programs offering courses, training, or instructional opportunities as described in Categories 1 - 4 may apply for pre-approval of CECs by completing an application form available on the SER website and providing required supporting materials. Pre-approval may be requested by educational institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, or individuals. There is currently no fee for pre-approval.
| 1. Completion of college-level continuing education coursework
|| 1 hour of instruction = 1 CEC
| 2. Completion of specialized training (e.g., short courses, workshops, field tours, webinars)
|| 1 hour of instruction = 1 CEC
| 3. Attendance at conference sessions and symposia1
|| 2 hours of attendance = 1 CEC
| 4. Instruction of short courses or workshops2
|| 1 hour of instruction = 2 CECs
| 5. Preparation of publications, technical documents, or educational materials
|| Book = 10 CECs
Book chapter = 5 CECs
Peer-reviewed publication = 5 CECs
Other educational materials = 1 CEC
| 6. Completion of leadership roles in SER, SER chapters, or SER chapter activities*
|| Board member = 5 CECs/year
Committee member3 = 3 CECs/year
Organizing SER/chapter events = 2 CECs/event
| 7. Completion of specified volunteer service to an NGO on ecological* restoration-related activities
|| 4 contact hours = 1 CEC
1Specific sessions and symposia within larger conferences may be pre-approved for credit.
2Continuing education credits are not awarded to college or university instructors for teaching regular semester- or quarter-long courses pertaining to ecological restoration.
3If the certificant serves on the Board and a committee for the same organization (e.g., both at the chapter level), then he/she should only count the Board service. If the certificant serves on the Board and a committee for different organizations (e.g., Board of chapter, committee for SER) then both may count toward CECs.
*No more than 20 total credits (out of 50 required) can come from volunteering/serving in Board/Committee/Chapter leadership roles.
Applications for pre-approval will be reviewed by the SER Certification Program Coordinator and the Continuing Education Committee to determine which meet the continuing education standards set forth in SER certification program guidance and how many credits to award.
SER and its chapters routinely offer annual meetings, workshops, webinars, and other educational courses; however, not all workshops and webinars count toward the continuing education program. SER and SER chapters will clearly state whether or not proposed webinars and workshops have been pre-approved for continuing education credits in association with the SER certification program.
Activities described by Continuing Education Categories 5-7 (Table 1) are not pre-approved; CECs are determined on a case-by-case basis. Applicants will submit forms available on the SER website to provide details and supplementary materials that document completed publications and educational materials, SER leadership roles and volunteer service activities for NGOs. SER leadership roles/volunteer activities can only count toward a maximum of 20 of the required 50 credits needed for recertification. Continuing Education Credit applications are evaluated by the SER Certification Program Coordinator and the Continuing Education Committee and the certificant is notified via email of approval, including the number of CECs awarded.